Australia’s Kerryn McCann says she was prepared to be beaten in the women’s marathon, until she heard the roar of the MCG crowd. — The Age
Such a thrilling thing I haven’t seen in a long time. She didn’t know it, but 76,500 of us in the MCG were watching her progress against Hellen Cherono Koskei of Kenya from about Princes Bridge onwards. They kept exchanging the lead, and as they came through the tunnel back into the ground, the crowd stood and erupted into a roar. Kerryn crossed the line just two seconds ahead, to deafening cheers around the stadium. What a fantastic moment.
All of the runners, both men and women, got big cheers as they came in, applause at their strength and ability, having run the 42.195Km course all around Melbourne.
Errol Duncan of St Helena got a special cheer — during the two initial laps of the stadium, he managed to get half a lap behind the others, and almost kept doing laps before directed out onto the course. He finished last, almost an hour behind the winners, but by golly he finished, to plenty of applause.
Other notable moments on the day:
During one of the EAD (Elite Athletes with a Disability) 100 metre heats, a visually impaired runner kept going after the finish line, doing almost a complete lap before being stopped.
The crowd’s awe of watching South African Sunette Vil Joen’s winning javelin throw of 60.72 metres.
Amusement at the remote control car used to ferry the javelins back to the athletes. Imagine, there’s a guy out there somewhere whose job at the Games is to work the remote control car.
Medal ceremonies for the women’s and men’s marathons, and the women’s javelin. We stood and sang for Advance Australia Fair. We stood for the others (Isaac remarking of the Tanzanian national anthem: “I don’t know this one.”)
Watching the fastest man on the planet, 100 metres world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica zoom off down the track, before slowing down to what seemed like a jog whe he realised he didn’t need to stress to win his heat.
Right at the end some woman ran onto the ground and was tackled by two police officers.
But mostly: Though perhaps not as much as for the Aussies, there was plenty of enthusiastic applause for all comers, for all who did well, no matter what country they were from.
(And before you ask, transport to and from the venue was relatively smooth. Plenty of extra trains on my line, crowded but not uncomfortable. Not so on the Burnley lines after the event, with trains few and far between, causing platforms 9+10 to fill and the station entrance to be periodically closed, in turn causing delays for the crowd on Brunton Avenue. Blame the Games.)